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You are here: Home / Plants / Species Profiles / Leafy Spurge
Species Profiles

Leafy Spurge

Leafy spurgeScientific name: Euphorbia esula L. (ITIS)

Common name: Leafy spurge, Wolf's Milk

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Selected Resources

Native To: Eurasia (Gucker 2010)

Date of U.S. Introduction: Early 1800s (Gucker 2010)

Means of Introduction: Introduced accidentally as a seed contaminant (Gucker 2010)

Impact: Crowds out native species (Gucker 2010)

Current U.S. Distribution:



  • YouTube - Leafy Spurge
    Google. YouTube; University of Wyoming Extension. Sustainable Management of Rangeland Resources Initiative Team.

Selected Resources:

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Council or Task Force

Invasive Plants of California's Wildlands - Euphorbia esula
California Invasive Plant Council.
In online book: Bossard, C.C., J.M. Randall, and M.C. Hoshovsky (Editors). 2000. Invasive Plants of California's Wildlands. University of California Press. Berkeley, CA

Priority Species: Leafy Spurge
Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Washington Invasive Species Council.

Fact Sheet: Leafy Spurge (Jan 2014; PDF | 263 KB)
Alberta Invasive Plant Council (Canada).
See also: Fact Sheets for more information about individual invasive species, including those listed as "Prohibited Noxious" and "Noxious" under the Alberta Weed Control Act


Alaska Exotic Plants Information Clearinghouse (AKEPIC): Species Biography - Leafy Spurge (Feb 7, 2011; PDF | 146 KB)
University of Alaska - Anchorage. Alaska Center for Conservation Science.
See also: Non-Native Plant Species List for additional factsheets (species biographies) and species risk assessment reports of non-native species present in Alaska and also non-native species currently not recorded in Alaska (potential invasives).

Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States - Leafy Spurge
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

Texas Invasives Database - Euphorbia esula

Invasive Species Compendium - Euphorbia esula
CAB International.

Global Invasive Species Database - Euphorbia esula (herb)
IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.

Federal Government

The Ecological Areawide Management (TEAM) Leafy Spurge
USDA. ARS. Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory.
The Ecological Area-wide Management (TEAM) Leafy Spurge was a $4.5 million, five-year (1998-2002) USDA-ARS research and demonstration program focusing on the Little Missouri drainage in Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas. Its goal was to research, develop and demonstrate ecologically based Integrated Pest Management strategies that landowners and land managers can use to achieve effective, affordable and sustainable leafy spurge control.
Note: The TEAM Leafy Spurge program was named a recipient of a U. S. Department of Agriculture 2004 Secretary’s Honor Award for exemplary service and achievement.

U.S. National Plant Germplasm System - Euphorbia esula
USDA. ARS. National Genetic Resources Program. GRIN-Global.

Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) - Euphorbia esula
USDA. FS. Rocky Mountain Research Station. Fire Sciences Laboratory.

PLANTS Database - Leafy Spurge
USDA. NRCS. National Plant Data Center.

State Government

Encycloweedia: Data Sheet - Euphorbia genus
California Department of Food and Agriculture.
See also: Included on California's noxious weed list; see Encycloweedia: Program Details for additional resources

Noxious Weed Species - Leafy Spurge
Colorado Department of Agriculture. Conservation Services Division. Noxious Weed Program.

Minnesota Noxious Weeds - Leafy Spurge
Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Field Guide: Invasive - Leafy Spurge
Missouri Department of Conservation.
See also: Problem Plant Control (scroll to Invasive Plants section) for more information to help you identify and control most common invasive plants in Missouri

Class B Noxious Weed: Leafy Spurge
Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board.

Integrated Pest Management Prescription: Leafy Spurge (Dec 2009; PDF | 241 KB)
Thurston County Public Health and Social Services (Washington). Environmental Health.
See also: IPM for Homeowners & Land Managers for more species

Leafy Spurge
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.


Natural Resources Series: Range - Leafy Spurge
Colorado State University Extension.

Noxious Weeds of Nebraska - Leafy Spurge
University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Cooperative Extension.

Identification and Control of Invasive and Troublesome Weeds in North Dakota - Leafy Spurge (PDF | 309 KB)
North Dakota State University. Extension Service.
A publication to help land managers properly identify and control noxious and invasive weeds found in the state. See Publication W1411 for entire publication, as well other species (reviewed and reprinted May 2015).

Invasive Plant Fact Sheet - Leafy Spurge (Nov 2011; PDF | 130 KB)
University of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Flora Project of Morris Arboretum.
See also: Invasive Plant Fact Sheets for additional invasive plants in Pennsylvania


Noxious Weed Information - Leafy Spurge
Colorado Weed Management Association.

Weed Identification - Leafy Spurge
Montana Weed Control Association.


Gucker, C.L. 2010. Euphorbia esula. In: Fire Effects Information System. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory.

Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Euphorbia esula. [Accessed Mar 19, 2015].

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Last Modified: Aug 25, 2018
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